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DIY Personalized “Handwritten” Scarf


For anyone who’s ever planned something, be it a work presentation, wedding, party for New Year’s Eve, or even a trip, well, sometimes, you just have to compromise on your expectations.  Sometimes, you have this vision in your mind of exactly what you want something to be, but rarely does it ever work out that way.  I know that for me, I’ve made birthday cakes for my kids – even taking cake decorating classes to learn how to decorate them well – and no matter how I envision the cake, it just doesn’t look the way I want it to. Ditto for just about everything else in life!   Even going clothes shopping, I seldom seem to find that “This is precisely, completely what I wanted!” outfit.  The fabric is the wrong color, the fit is just a little off, my size isn’t to be found,, well, I’m sure you’ve been there, done that too.

Good thing I took home ec in 8th grade.

While I don’t often make my own clothing anymore (although, on occasion I’ll make pajamas or curtains, not that I would wear curtains!), taking that class helped teach me that not everything in life has to be bought.  I remember making a simple red wrap skirt in that class, and feeling pride and accomplishment that it was actually wearable in public.  Since then, I’ve taken upholstery classes so I could buy used furniture and update it to my liking, learned how to refinish furniture so I could restore antiques to their former glory, taken a landscaping course  so when we gutted a historic home, we could landscape it without paying professional fees, and spent  a gazillion hours on the Interwebs learning all manner of other things.  Maybe all that was the precursor to the homeschooler in me, but I really love learning new skills.  Especially if they help save money!

To that end, last year, I was out and about somewhere, and I saw a woman wearing an amazing scarf with “handwritten” words of a Shakespeare sonnet on it.  Totally me.  If anyone in my family sees there is some kind of period piece on TV (um… Call the Midwife, Downton Abbey, Shakespeare in Love, Franco Zefferelli’s Romeo & Juliet,  Pride & Prejudice, North & South, Jane Eyre, War Horse; you get the picture) they Tivo it for me because I’m sort of in love with clothing & manners & eloquent speaking from the past.  Especially Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy… But, I digress…  I caught up with the woman and asked where she got it only to be told it had been a gift.   So my BFF Google and I got together to stalk said scarf, only to learn it was nowhere to be found.

I decided to try to make one instead.  First order of business, find a scarf and something permanent to use to write on the scarf.  Thank you Amazon for always having everything in the world you could ever want in one place, and only needing 2 clicks of the mouse to purchase it.  (I mean, really, if I were the White House, I’d ask Amazon to run Obamacare.)

I found a plain white pashmina scarf for just $7, but they have, oh so many different colors.  Next time perhaps.  Then I did some research to find out the best way to put permanent ink on the scarf, and found these Sharpie fabric markers at Walmart, because we love Sharpies with a passion at our house.  My daughter swears she’s going to marry the Sharpie heir one day!  Instead of the set, I bought black fabric markers for about $2 a piece.  I used 3 for the whole project just so the ink would stay bright and crisp.

Then, I had to figure out what I wanted to write on the scarf.  While there are so many wonderful words by the Bard that I could’ve used, or for that matter, words from Robert Frost, or Einstein or other quotes that mean something to me personally, I chose one of my favorite Bible verses:

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

It’s the verse I repeat to myself ad nauseum when life isn’t perfect.

Which is all the time.

If, on the off chance someone else were to ask about the scarf, I wanted them to ASK about it.  The Bible verse, I mean.  So I found the French translation (because French is just such a lovely flowy-sounding language). Unless of course, I’m actually in France, then it will hold no mystery.

Je peux faire toutes choses par Christ qui me fortifie. Philippiens 4:13


  1. I found the beautiful script font Before the Rain that looked like something a calligrapher might have used for an invitation to the palace, and printed it out in 72 point.  This took a couple pieces of paper that I then had to cut and piece together.  It was helpful to use a yardstick to keep the line level.
  2. Before I began pinning the writing onto the scarf, I kind of eyeballed & measured the distance between lines of writing.  I didn’t want it to be messy, but I didn’t want the words to be so far apart as to be “empty” looking either.  I think I had about 2½” between each line of writing.
  3. I placed the printed writing underneath the scarf, right side up.  Again, I used a yardstick to help me pin the writing onto the scarf to keep the writing level.  The fabric of the scarf will naturally pull a little, so having it level to begin with is important.  I started the first line at the top all the way to the left.wpid-20150114_150900.jpg
  4. The Sharpie fabric markers have a paint brush end so you can lay the marker tip a little flatter on the thicker parts of the letters, and use the thinner tip for the thin portions of letter. Basically, with the writing underneath the fabric, you just trace the letters as best you can, working slowly to make sure the ink covers and fills in the on the fabric
  5. I had enough space after I wrote that line that I ended up starting the same text on the same line about 4″ after the end of the first section. I also found these decorative dingbats to put between the start of one line of verse and the next.
  6. For the next line, I centered the text in the middle of the fabric, writing it out completely.  There was enough blank space both before and after the text that I “wrote” the 2nd half of the text to the left, in front of what I had already traced.  Then, on the right side of the middle text, I finished the line with the 1st half of the text.  I know this is confusing, so here’s an example of what I mean:





7.  I then just alternated the remaining lines according to the above layout.

8.  After I had finished all the lettering work, I ironed the scarf on a low setting, just enough to set the ink.



You have a homemade personalized scarf with words that matter to you!

I did this a little at a time, working only when the light was decent, which, wasn’t very often with this gray wintry weather,  All told it took me about 3 hours from start to finish, working in starts and stops.  Still, for $13 and having exactly what I wanted, well…. that’s kind of the opposite of most clothes shopping, don’t you agree?  And that?  Priceless!


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